By ELISA BALL
Skiers and snowboarders heading to Wolf Mountain this year will see in its place Utah’s newest winter resort, The Canyons.
According to Mike Grass, communications director for The Canyons, the old Park West and most recently Wolf Mountain, have had buyers eyeing this resort for years. The mountains that make up The Canyons have long been considered the best all around skiing and riding in the Park City region, but there has never been a company that would supply the necessary funds to provide for this resort’s potential. The American Skiing Company, the largest ski and snowboard area operator in North America, purchased Wolf Mountain this summer. The Maine-based company also owns several eastern ski resorts including Mount Snow, Haystack, Killington, Sugarbush, Sunday River and Sugarloaf.
The most recent purchase of The Canyons is the company’s first move to acquiring western region resorts, he said. They plan to put 18.2 million dollars into the new resort with a major new mountain peak, six new chair lifts, an 8-passenger gondola, and a new 12,000 sq.ft. mid-mountain lodge.
“This is just the start,” promised Les Otten, chairman of the American Skiing Company. “The terrain is there to make this one of the most attractive resort destinations in North America.”
The location and topography of these mountains provide 4 skiable canyons. In years past, the terrain was there but the access was not. Wolf Mountain was running on some of Alta’s old, two-man lifts. Skiers and snowboarders will have no problem getting up the mountain this year with The Canyons’ new gondola and five high-speed quads.
“I’ve skied in some of the best powder at Wolf Mountain but I felt like I was spending more time on the lifts than on the slopes,” said Doug Brown, a skier from Mesa, Arizona. “With all the new lifts and gondola, it sounds like this may be the ideal place to ski.”
“The Canyons’ goal is to provide the same ultimate experience that Park City and Deer Valley offers but at an affordable price,” Grass said.
Discounted season passes are being sold before November 15 in celebration of the resort’s grand opening. College students can purchase an unlimited season pass for $350 locally by calling 375-9346. Junior high and high school students are eligible for a free season pass if they make the honor roll for two consecutive terms.
“We are always looking for ways to be part of the community,” Grass said. “Come winter, we want to see the locals on our slopes. Without their support this resort would not exist.”
Construction is underway, and The Canyons’ staff is looking forward to a new image and a new resort. “We’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll. The community support so far has been terrific, and we’ve got some excellent people in place to make things happen. … we’re thrilled to be here, thrilled by the mountain, and look forward to being a real asset to the community and the state,” said Blaise Carrig, vice president, managing director.